Sat Jun 9, 2012, 08:16 PM
malaise (121,322 posts)
Power doesn't always corrupt. Power can cleanse-Robert Caro on LBJ
Most reporters would envy him the time to research and the space to write the 1.5m words he's already dedicated to his subject, and this is even before he tackles the bulk of a presidency that did more for the rights of America's black minority than any since the civil war and before it was swamped by lies and deceit over Vietnam.
Caro at heart sees himself as a reporter, not a historian. For 36 years he has dug deep into Johnson's life in search not of the man for the sake of it, but for an understanding of how he wielded power so effectively. "I don't think of my books as being biographies. I never had any interest in doing a book just to write the life of a great man. I had zero interest in that," he says. "My interest is in power. How power works."
Caro is 76 now. When he began researching The Years of Lyndon Johnson the former president had been dead little more than three years and still occupied a central place in the American consciousness. The Vietnam war, which Johnson escalated to the point where it ripped his country apart, had ended in humiliation only a year earlier with the fall of Saigon. The struggle for civil rights had widened with the rise of militant black power groups. Johnson was despised on the right and left by the time he was driven from office in 1968.
"I'm fascinated by Johnson. If you don't like me you say I'm obsessed," Caro says. "We're taught Lord Acton's axiom: all power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. I believed that when I started these books, but I don't believe it's always true any more. Power doesn't always corrupt. Power can cleanse. What I believe is always true about power is that power always reveals. When you have enough power to do what you always wanted to do, then you see what the guy always wanted to do."
3 replies, 1128 views
Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Power doesn't always corrupt. Power can cleanse-Robert Caro on LBJ (Original post)
Response to freshwest (Reply #1)
Sat Jun 9, 2012, 08:22 PM
malaise (121,322 posts)
2. My favorite line from Caro
When you have enough power to do what you always wanted to do, then you see what the guy always wanted to do.
That's the absolute truth and I don't want to see Rmoney wants to do.
Response to malaise (Reply #2)
Sat Jun 9, 2012, 08:54 PM
freshwest (43,734 posts)
3. Yes, he's proven what he does with power. Obama has taken the beating for cleansing the heart on
The subject of granting human rights.Let's see if the American people are ready to be cleansed on that and other issues, too.
and thanks for all the great threads.